January 27, 2013 by Last Star blog
Now, y’all know I am a Texan gal from the day I popped out in El Paso.. born and bred as they say. I spent every summer growin’ up traveling across Texas to Tucson, AZ to spend the summers at my cousins. Now, don’t get me wrong, Arizona is nice–friendly, but LAID back, baby. Texas is my idea of friendly–in your face friendly. “How y’all doing?” at every turn. Taking Cole to Texas back in August he kept saying, “Wow, I love Texans! They pull over if you are trying to over take them on the highway, they open your doors, they say, “Hi y’all” every time they see you, they smile and look you in the eye”… it’s a friendly place. And after years and years of moving around the country, we haven’t always seen friendly. So, the Bahamas has kinda overwhelmed us with niceness, not Nicety (that’s the southern Nice-nasty, bless-her-heart kind) but honest to goodness nice. Look you in the eye and say, “Hey babes, hey big brother…” with the biggest smile and pure genuine friendliness I haven’t seen since Texas. No Nicety.
So, here are the photos you won’t see in the brochures.
At first, I was hesitant to take the pictures. Like somehow I would diminish their purity of spirit by exposing their dirty laundry. I refused to at first. My friend, Brenda, who takes AMAZING photos once told me: “if you take the picture because you want to capture the beauty of the reality, then you are okay. If you take the picture to exploit, expose, or explain…then don’t.” So, I have begun to take photos of things that make my heart jump, leap, and sink. The Bahamians are amazing.
Their children wear uniforms to school, but walk in socks from the bus, and yet will give you a dialogue to make you laugh and cry. We have met hard working, industrious entrepreneurs trying desperately to make something happen in their town; for themselves and their families. Are they any different from our own underprivileged in America? I am not here to debate our welfare system with you, but I can tell you these people have no chip on their shoulders. They will tell you their government is corrupt and then ask you to come back, and bring your friends. The area is amazingly, spectacularly, incredibly beautiful. We watch the sunset everyday and are amazed: at the color, the 360 degree beauty, the water, the fish, and the people. However, walking through the villages, we are so saddened by the state of affairs and the conditions of the locals. There are cars everywhere, but most don’t have tires. Most houses are boarded up or for sale ( if the village is upscale).
There are roosters and chickens, everywhere, and laundry on lines in most yards. We haven’t seen ONE fast food anything since Marsh Habour. The children are all fast on foot, smiling, happy, and playing outside. Internet is hard to find here. Hot water as well. The kids play outside, on bikes, on foot, with balls, and oh–with each other!
In many ways, my heart breaks for them, this life is hard…very very hard. However, every mother we meet, every big-brother we engage in conversation is positive in their outlook, behavior, and personality. We should all be so lucky, to greet each day with a sunny smile. Whether we are lucky enough to have only 1st world problems or to be smart enough to recognize the difference between 1st and 3rd world problems: Happy Bahamian Days.